This past weekend Emily and I attended a book release party for The Future Of The Internet And How To Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain. The party was hosted by the always gracious Melanie Ellison (a client of ours who writes under her maiden name, Melanie Craft) and the inimitable Arianna Huffington at Melanie’s home in San Francisco.
In my preparations for the party, I hopped online to read the book’s excerpt — the introduction, and was instantly hooked. Unlike what the title may suggest, Zittrain isn’t about stopping that speeding runaway locomotive we call the internet, but rather, he sets out to make a case for keeping the internet from derailing. He argues that the internet today is heading away from the kind of innovation that helped create it and more toward a kind of control that can only stifle it.
After getting over the thrill of meeting Arianna, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and craigslist founder Craig Newmark, among many others, I sought out Jonathan Zittrain to sign my copy of his book. “Web nerds unite!” he penned, and I felt I was in very good company. Shortly thereafter Mayor Newsom introduced Melanie, who talked a bit about Jonathan (they went to high school together — small world). Then Arianna spoke about the importance of the book and introduced Jonathan. For a self-professed web nerd (who is also the Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University, and co-founder of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society), Jonathan is a good public speaker, using language that even techno-newbies can understand. He does this without condescension and with ample amounts of humor. If I have the opportunity to hear him speak in the future, I will jump at the chance. After I finish reading the book, I promise to hop back on here and give a review.
NOTE: Kara Swisher from All Things Digital attended the party and put together a little video. You can check it out here.